One of the best things to come out of all those lockdowns was the boom in new independent businesses – and our new-found appreciation for those based on our doorsteps.
There are brilliant creators dotted all over the north west, but Oldham has got a vast array of crafters and stockists selling handmade gifts that won’t break the bank.
One of those does exactly what it says in the tin – Gifts Under a Tenner sells a massive range of gifts all priced under £10.
It was founded as an online shop in 2016 by former police officer Diane Barlow, who went on to become a fixture at Royton market.
Diane says: “Despite the name people will still say, ‘what, everything is under £10?’
“It’s a buzz because people are happy, they can buy anything they want and that’s my main philosophy: I want them to be able to pick something up and know they can afford it.”
She says the market was her ‘baby’ between 2017 and 2021, but had to give it up and decided to focus on the shop she and a former colleague opened in Chorley in 2019.
It’s now expanded into the unit next door where they mostly sell gorgeous wooden toys, as well as gifts ranging from a trinket dish (£2.95), scarves (£5.95) and a ceramic light-up Christmas house (£9.99), as well as personalised Christmas ornaments.
Diane continues: “It’s crazy because every day without fail, even in the summer, I get people saying, ‘I’m coming back at Christmas’ and people do, because they’re beautiful stocking-fillers and a lot of them show you care without spending a lot of money.”
For people who can’t make it to the store her products are also available online, where Diane is passionate about supporting others like her.
“My Instagram hashtags are all about buying local and supporting small businesses and I’ve started finding independent suppliers because it’s important to me to keep them going. Covid had a massive effect on everyone – a lot of shops and market traders have gone. It’s important to buy local, it really is.”
Based in Chadderton is author and illustrator J C Perry, who has penned five books suitable for ages four to eight, which are available online for around £6.99.
Many of the books feature landscapes that will be familiar to Oldham residents.
She says: “I try to use local scenes, so Dove Stone Reservoir is in I Am a Stone; the tall house in Tom’s Zombie Fright is actually our house, and the tree in The Best Nest is based on one in the cemetery next to us.
“They might not be recognisable to everyone but they’re scenes from where I live and the illustrations have all got a flavour of Saddleworth and Oldham.”
As well as celebrating the borough in print, she also hopes to inspire the next generation of young storytellers with her writing and drawing workshops at libraries.
“Growing up I can’t think of a local children’s author – the ones that visited school didn’t have local accents, they were from London. It’s good for local kids to see an author from the area – in the back of my books I always say where I’m from and it might inspire them to pick up their pen and write a story.”
The self-published writer has a sixth book out in December just in time for Christmas, with several more planned for 2023.
Carolyn Hollinshead is another local business owner who says the encouragement from customers and fellow stallholders at local markets gave her the push to take the leap. She applied to makers’ markets, which led to a spot at Oldham Council’s pop-up shop last year.
“It’s hard work and I’m learning as I go along but there’s been proud moments,” says Carolyn, a mum of four. “Like when I was asked to do Oldham Made I thought, ‘oh someone’s interested in my things!’”
Beespoke Gifts by Carolyn was born out of lockdown, and a keyring-making activity she and two of her kids did – she soon branched out into jewellery and sourcing items made of slate and wood, candles, and maps of Greater Manchester, which she customises with the worker bee symbol.
She says: “It happened by accident but it’s my little thing now and I have a real passion for it. The feedback I’ve had is that they’re tasteful and unique and I can personalise them, so if you want that special touch there’s that option so they’re a little more thoughtful.”
Carolyn’s affordable handcrafts can be ordered via Facebook and are also stocked at Whispers hair salon in Shaw and at the Little Owl Farm near Delph, which will be transformed into a Christmas shop throughout the weekends in December.
“It’s really important to support local people because I know how much hard work it is – to buy something from a small business as opposed to going into a big shop means so much more.”
Featured image: Supplied
Craig David to take to the stage at iconic racecourse for outdoor summer gig
Craig David has been added to the star-studded line-up for this year’s The Jockey Club Live summer series, which takes over racecourses across the north west.
The singer, whose career launched 23 years ago with his debut album Born To Do It, will be taking to the stage with his live band at Haydock Park on Saturday 24 June.
Craig’s impressive career has included an astounding 23 UK top 40 singles, nine UK top 40 albums and over five billion streams worldwide, plus multiple BRIT Award and Grammy nominations.
He’s also the proud owner of four MOBO Awards and three Ivor Novello Awards.
The star catapulted back into the charts in recent years with a string of chart hits that have filled dancefloors.
Craig is the talent behind the legendary TS5 parties, which combine old school anthems with R&B, garage, and bashment, alongside plenty of contemporary hits.
He’s part of the bill of huge outdoor concerts announced for The Jockey Club Live, which also includes Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Pete Tong, and an epic Faithless DJ set from Sister Bliss.
Molly Dingwall, general manager at Haydock Park Racecourse said: “Craig is one of the icons of the UK music industry and a real voice of a generation – we’re so excited to have him at Haydock Park this Summer for a show that’s sure to be a highlight!”
Craig David said: “From my TS5 shows in Ibiza to sets at festivals like Glastonbury, there is nothing quite like an outdoor summer show! I can’t wait to bring the party to Haydock Park in June with my live band – bring it on!”
The Jockey Club Live events blend an exciting evening at the races with spectacular live music, in some of the most beautiful and iconic racecourse settings in the world.
Tickets for Craig David at Haydock Park on Saturday 24 June are on sale now, priced from £36.25 for adults and £16.80 for children.
A huge free festival is coming to Kampus with frozen margaritas and canal-side pizza
A huge free festival is coming to Kampus over the Glastonbury weekend, bringing the party vibes to the heart of the city centre.
Promising canal-side pizza from NY slice bar Nell’s, also famed for their 22″ pies, plus a prosecco van, a cocktail pop-up from Manchester Gin’s Three Little Words in the Bungalow and loads more, it’s set to run from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 June 2023.
With huge outdoor screens in amongst the lush Kampus gardens broadcasting Glastonbury’s sets live throughout the weekend, the party will kick off on Friday with pizza slices and cocktails from Kampus’s waterside spritz bar.
Saturday will take things up a notch with live music from Manchester’s talented The Untold Orchestra, who will celebrate 40 years of Glastonbury headliners with their own orchestral renditions of classics from Bowie to Jay Z and Diana Ross.
Sunday will end on a quieter note, promising a day of family fun with Born To Be Wild Child decamping to the garden with craft tables and festival headband making, all set to the soundtrack of rock and roll hits.
There will also be free prosecco samples from the Delevigne sisters’ brand Della Vite, served direct from their pink vintage car ‘Penelope’.
Speaking on the upcoming festival Antonia Lallement, from Nell’s, said: “This is our first Kampus Fest and it’s all about bringing true festival vibes to the heart of Manchester.
“We’re decking out the Kampus garden to capture the bohemian magic of the UK’s favourite live events and flooding the space with music for the whole weekend.
“Manchester is full of music lovers and we want to give people a fun, city centre alternative to the real thing! We’ll be serving up slices to keep people going throughout the weekend and can’t wait to see people getting involved.
“Kampus has got to be one of the best outdoor spaces in the city. We felt it only right to put on a big summer block party come rain or shine.”
Abbie Duthie, from Three Little Words, added: “Glastonbury is an icon of the cultural calendar and we’re beyond excited to be staging Kampus Fest, bringing all the highs of the festival experience to Manchester, minus the mud of course.
“We’ll be serving our signature drinks canal-side for those whose ‘go to’ is summer spritzes and cocktails in the city over warm beer in a field! Kampus will be alive all weekend with great food and drinks, live music and festival vibes taking centre stage.”
Kampus Fest is free to attend from Friday 23 June – Sunday 25 June.
The Family Fun Day event on Sunday for youngsters requires reservation, with £2 tickets available to book in advance here.